Ever had your heart broken? You’re not the only one. But there is a way to rid yourself of all those personal belongings that remind you of your ex-partner without throwing them in the trash – just donate them to the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia. They will accept anything – from engagement rings to sex toys. And the best part is that all contributors remain anonymous, so you don’t have to worry about being embarrassed in any way.
What is the Museum of Broken Relationships?
Back in 2003 a local couple, Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić, broke up after being together for 4 years. They joked about how they’d need an entire museum to house all of their shared personal items that had a sentimental value after the breakup. The joke eventually turned into an entrepreneurship and in 2006 the very first exhibition of broken relationships was held in Zagreb. It started expanding rapidly and during the upcoming 4 years it traveled the world, gaining more and more items.
As of October 2010 the Museum has its own building and visitors have the chance to experience it firsthand seven days a week – a rarity for most museums not only in Zagreb, but also all over the globe. That, along with the contents of the unusual museum earned it the Kenneth Hudson Award in 2011.
This groundbreaking establishment is divided into a total of 3 segments – the material, the confessional and the virtual museum. The material segment holds all sorts of physical items – from everyday household items acquired during a failed relationship (such as coffee machines and paintings) to more unusual items – like an axe, which one woman used to destroy her former partner’s furniture shortly after the two of them broke up.
The virtual web museum segment offers contributors the chance to donate any digital form of memory they want to get rid of – pictures, documents, chat history, etc. And the confessional segment is a physical area inside the museum where visitors can confess their story and record their message in a safe, intimate and anonymous matter.
All items and confessions donated to the Museum of Broken Relationships come with a short annotation regarding the length of the relationship, the area in which it took place, and a personal story from the anonymous contributor. Each contributor can decide whether they want to keep their donation hidden from the public eye (not displayed in physical exhibitions or in the virtual ones) or whether they want to make it available for everyone to see. In other words, donators can make up their own personal collection that will remain completely hidden and locked away among the museum’s other heartbreaking secrets.
Those wishing to donate a physical object to the museum as a token of their broken hearts can either visit the location in person or just mail their items. Due to the fact that so many people donate remains of their failed relationships not all items get to be displayed right away. And sometimes the donations get to be seen on international exhibitions outside of Croatia.
The museum’s global success was so grand that in 2016 a second Museum of Broken Relationships was opened in Los Angeles, US. Moreover, the original museum inspired another traveling exhibition named Museum of Failure, which showcased a collection of failed services and products. Similarly to the Zagreb exhibition, this one helps brokenhearted people embrace the failure in order to encourage the possibility of innovation and growth that comes after a downfall, be it on a personal or a professional level.
You can read more info about the Croatian Museum of Broken Relationships’ donation terms, exhibitions and overall services on their official website here.